June 12, 2010: WHAT’S ON THE MENU THIS WEEK?
WIN WIN IN FREEPORT, BAHAMAS? Remember the blurb in the May 29 edition about OPCs working for the Ocean Reef Yacht Club being kicked out of the Port Lucaya area in Freeport, The Bahamas? And how they asked to be regulated so they could go back? Well, that problem has been solved– apparently without a whole lot of actual regulations being imposed.
Representatives for the OPCs sat down with government officials and executives of the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) and hammered out a mutual agreement allowing the OPCs to operate from a central location in the Port Lucaya Marketplace. In the nick of time, too, because the OPCs had gathered in front of the Ministry of Tourism office for what was supposed to be a demonstration against Ministry of Tourism officials when they learned of the agreement. That was a “Whew!” moment for them, I’ll bet.
According to an article in The Nassau Guardian, community activist Troy Garvey led the OPCs. He said that the group has submitted policies and procedures to the Ministry of Tourism for review and added that “the OPCs want to improve their product by being uniformed and on the same level and it was their decision to bring about a change so that something like this does not happen again.”
The OPCs and affected resorts never did get copies of the alleged complaints against them, though, so they’ve never had the opportunity to address them. That doesn’t seem right.
Read all about it in The Nassau Guardian.
THE HEADQUARTERS THAT ISN’T THERE: A bogus timeshare resale company named Property Experts Marketing, which has complaints filed all over the Internet, got seriously busted recently by the St. Louis, MO Better Business Bureau in a way that would be funny if it weren’t so disgusting. Really, you can’t make this stuff up!
The company listed the address for its headquarters as 509 Olive Street in downtown St. Louis. But there’s a problem with that: A BBB investigator went to that address to investigate complaints about the company and discovered that it was the old LaSalle building, which has long been vacant and padlocked.
He later managed to contact a “representative” of Property Experts Marketing and told him what he had found, but even then the representative not only continued to insist that the company had a suite on the seventh floor of the building but he actually told the investigator he was speaking from a phone inside the Olive Street office. Asked if he would be willing to meet a BBB representative at the building, the man replied, “well, actually I am leaving right now.”
Their website boasts this “reassuring” information for potential victims:
These are some key numbers from our history:
- -Since 2001 we have received $560,088,087.00 in timeshare and fractional resale and rental offers.
- -We have closed through escrow $392,045,513.00 in timeshare and fractional resales.
- -We currently have a relationship with over 38 worldwide wholesalers including Travelocity, Expedia , Sabre system , etc.
- -Until November 2009 we have generated over $154,000,000 in rentals for our owners.
- -We save to our buyers an average of 34% of the timeshare or fractional lower cost, with all benefits incuded.
The domain name for Property Experts Marketing is registered to a John Lindsay, at the phony Olive St. address, but that doesn’t tell much. It was created on Feb. 19, 2010 and is only registered for one year, which implies that Mr. Lindsay may not be counting on a long sojourn with either the name or the website. That’s interesting in light of the fact that the website claims they’ve been in business since 2001… I wonder if that’s even his real name? I wonder if Property Experts Marketing is even a registered company/corporation anywhere?
Anyhow, now that they’ve been busted, Property Experts Marketing will probably just move on to another vacant building in another town from which to base its operation, though the Olive St. address is still on their website as of this writing. Will they change the company name? Have they done it before?
Does anyone know this John Lindsay character? It all reminds me of that old Hughes Mearns rhyme: Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today, Oh, how I wish he’d go away.
IS NOTHING SACRED? How can it be? Even Disney is being targeted by scam artists. The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) has issued a warning on its website for scammers that pose to be part of the company.
DVC specifically identified letters to clients which offered customers a Travel Passport Cash Giveaway. The company said that this is a fake offer and they also told customers that they may receive unsolicited phone calls from scammers who claim that they are part of DVC. The scammers try pry personal information from DVC timeshare owners– you know, like credit card numbers, SS numbers, stuff like that.
In its warning, DVC instructed people to phone and report these fraudulent offers to their State Attorney General or the Federal Trade Commission.
Not the Mouse! Tell me it ain’t so!
SUMMERTIME, AND THE LIVIN’ IS ??? It’s officially the slow summer season in Mexico and the Caribbean, and accordingly various timeshare resorts are offering discounts and other perks to lure people in. Ya gotta have bodies filling all those hotels and timeshare resorts if you want to make sales.
Palace Resorts, for example, is pushing what it calls the “most valuable vacation promotion on record”, with “up to 1,500 Vacation Dollars for Your Indulgences that make a Palace Resorts stay the most complete vacation getaway in Mexico and Dominican Republic.”
The 1,500 vacation dollars can be used on room upgrades, spa and beauty salon treatments, golf outings, romantic dinners, Precious Wedding Collection packages and off-site excursions and tours. The options allow all guests staying in any room category for five nights or more to mix and match dollars among all included amenities.
In Los Cabos, Mexico, Pacific Monarch Resorts’ Cabo Azul Resort is offering rates starting at $219 per night for a one-bedroom villa, plus daily breakfast for two, fourth night free, and a guaranteed ocean view villa. Not a bad deal; that is a pretty spectacular resort!
Also in Los Cabos, Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort & Spa is offering two-for-one pricing on accommodations between July 1 and September 30, 2010. Full butler service is available for those staying in an Ocean View Suite. Vacationers can stay at the oceanfront resort and spa with every second night free. Prices are per room/unit with two (2) guests. Prices do not include: taxes, service fees, and extra guest charges.
And that’s just scratching the surface. Similar special deals are being offered all over Mexico and the islands of the Caribbean.
For sales reps summer season is not as good a deal in those locales, especially in these precarious financial times when travel is down anyway. Depending on location and bookings, you might sit around all day hoping for one guest to talk to. A qualified guest is a bonus… 😉
SAY GOOD NIGHT, GRACIE: I guess it’s official. Black Gaming, working its way through bankruptcy in Mesquite, NV, will be demolishing the Oasis Resort Hotel & Casino later this year. Only building 1 and the timeshare buildings (Grand Destination Vacation Club at the Oasis Resort) will remain.
The Oasis has a lot of history in Mesquite. It started out as the Western Village in 1959, and was purchased by the famed Si Redd in 1981. Redd contracted with Bill Paganetti, owner of Peppermill Casinos, to operate the complex as the Peppermill. Later, Si and Marilyn Redd took over the management and changed the name to the Oasis and operated it until it was sold to what is now Black Gaming.
You gotta do what you gotta do. CEO Randy Black said, “The Oasis will be missed but, in light of market trends, it is the best option for the company, community and our 1,700 employees. We are optimistic about the long-term prospects of Mesquite and look forward to more stable times ahead.”
A SCARY THOUGHT: A while back I saw a story about the world’s oldest worker, who finally called it quits at the age of 104. It made me think, what would I be like half a century from now hunched over a little round table talking to potential timeshare owners? You think I’m cranky now? You think I would even pretend to observe the niceties if I were that old and still working the tables?
Think Andy Rooney (with better eyebrows), and double it. Think Donald Trump (with a haircut): “You ARE fired, you minute hoarding clock watcher…” Think Don Imus, trying to squeeze reserve funds out of a developer: “You’re such a sick diseased person you make my skin crawl. You ought to be doing a perp walk, you lying sleaze bag money grubbing sack of s–t, I hope you die.”
It’s a scary notion, isn’t it…
THE GRAPEVINE: I’ve been hearing loud whispers about trouble with Morritt’s Grand Resort and Morritt’s Tortuga Club in the Cayman Islands. Money trouble, that is, and the HOAs and some timeshare owners involved seem to be pretty much up in arms about it.
Back in mid 2009 audits of the financial system at Morritts reportedly showed that Morritt had failed to pay his fees/assessments/loans, putting the HOAs deeply in the hole. In August 2009 Morritt Properties Cayman Ltd (aka David Morritt, the Developer) announced to the “owners” that it intended to put the developer’s interests up for sale, and that it had already engaged in discussions with the owner-elected members of the Board of Directors of both resorts.
Fast forward, and Morritt has allegedly put the resort up for sale at an inflated price, taken money from the association account without the knowledge of the owners, failed to pay MF’s on the units that he owns, and canceled board meetings (he controls the vote, with a 3 to 2 margin). Some outraged owners are convinced he has put the place on a path to certain closure and even that he’s just being spiteful.
What the heck is going on? Has there been a massive overreaction from the owner-elected HOAs or is there a there there? Is Morritt the good guy just trying to do the best he can for the resorts he started two decades ago? Or has he turned into Satan?
To confuse matters even more, a plan has been proposed to the Cayman Planning Department for a new apartment building owned by Morritt Properties (Cayman) Ltd. nearby.
What IS going on over there?
PEOPLE: Christel House International, the industry’s favorite charity, has two new members on its Board of Directors:
Dr. Carol D’Amico is the senior advisor for education for Conexus Indiana and the Indiana Department of Education. Conexus Indiana is a privately funded organization which seeks to position Indiana as the global leader in emerging technologies. She has also served as executive vice president and chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana and was appointed by President George W. Bush as assistant secretary of vocational and adult education for the U.S. Department of Education.
Geoff Ballotti serves as president and chief executive officer of RCI, the global leader in vacation exchange and a part of Wyndham Worldwide. He oversees the largest vacation exchange network in the industry with more than 4,000 affiliated resorts in approximately 100 counties and 3.8 million members worldwide.
DEAD SKUNK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD AWARD: This week’s Dead Skunk Award was suggested by a reader who is fed up to HERE with calls from GMAC’s Timeshare Division asking about renting or selling his timeshare for him.
“They call me about every other DAY!”, he tells me, “in spite of me being on the do not call list and telling them to STOP! Every time it’s a different person with a different caller ID number, and I tell every one of them to TAKE ME OFF THEIR LIST, but it just continues and it’s been going on for MONTHS! Am I going to have to go through the hassle of changing my phone number to stop them????
“The worst thing is I DON’T EVEN OWN THAT TIMESHARE ANYMORE!
“I’ve even called the FTC and filed a complaint, but that hasn’t stopped them yet. Can I sue them for harrassment????”
Well, I don’t know if they can be sued or not, but it’s worth a free legal consultation to find out. In the meantime,
And that’s it for this week’s Roadkill. See ya next weekend, and keep your eyes on the road… Oh, and if you enjoyed this, tell a friend!
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